Dallas disability discrimination lawyers represent clients in Dallas, Texas in disability discrimination claims. Under federal and Texas employment laws it is unlawful to treat an employee or applicant unfairly because of a disability. Disability discrimination claims also exist when a disabled employee requests a reasonable accommodation and is denied. Under federal law an employer may not discriminate on the basis of a family relationship with a disabled person. If you have a disability and your employer discriminated against you then you should contact a Dallas disability discrimination lawyer.
Disability discrimination at work in Dallas, Texas
The Americans with Disabilities Act, the Rehabilitation Act and the Texas Labor Code prohibit employers from discriminating on a disability. This includes current disabilities, past disabilities and the employer’s perception that an employee or applicant is disabled. An employer may discriminate in hiring, promotion, termination, demotion, pay cuts, pay raises, work assignments and harassment. These acts are unlawful. If you suffer any you should contact Dallas disability discrimination lawyers right away.
Disability discrimination claims are particularly complex because anti-discrimination laws use highly technical definitions for many of the key terms. The definition of a disability under the ADA and Texas Labor Code is specific and a source of disagreement in disability discrimination lawsuits. Similarly, a disability discrimination claim may be the subject of dispute over the application of “essential functions” and “reasonable accommodations” as defined by the statutes.
What is a disability under federal and Texas employment law
The Americans with Disabilities Act defines a disabled person as:
a person who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, a person who has a history or record of such an impairment, or a person who is perceived by others as having such an impairment
Because there is a lot to unpack in this definition, take it one piece at a time. The definition of a disabled person includes (1) a person with a disability; (2) a person with a history of a disability; and (3) a person perceived to have a disability even if that person is not actually disabled. Therefore the question becomes what is a disability.
Next, the ADA definition is, “a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities…”
Parse out the definition and find several parts: (1) physical or mental impairment; (2) substantially limits; (3) one or more major life activities. Each element must be met. Therefore, any employee who does not meet all three will not prevail on a claim.
First, there must be a physical or mental impairment. It must be an actual impairment to the body. Let’s jump to the end and come back to the middle. Third, it involves one or more major life activities. Under the ADA Amendments Act of 2008, the definition of a major life activity is broad. It includes walking, thinking, sleeping, eating, reading, talking, etc. As a result, defense lawyers often argue that the definition means everybody is disabled. Second, the impairment must substantially limit a major life activity. A minor limitation will not meet the definition. The clear and significant limitation must exist.
Reasonable accommodation claims in Dallas, Texas
Reasonable accommodation claims are particularly challenging without a thorough understanding of employment discrimination law. These claims carry all the challenges of proving the elements of a disability under the ADA and Texas Labor Code. However, a reasonable accommodation claim is not just a claim for inferior treatment; but a claim that the employer failed to do something to help the employee. What is reasonable and what is an accommodation are both technical, legal questions. The bar for reasonableness is high but does not require an employer to do everything or anything a disabled employee requests.
Often a problem arises in which the employee requests one specific accommodation without any flexibility. Under the ADA and Texas Labor Code an employer only has to offer a reasonable accommodation that is truly both reasonable and an accommodation. The employer does not have to offer the best accommodation or the specific accommodation requested by the employee.
Disability discrimination lawsuits in Dallas, Texas
Employers who discriminate are liable for lost wages, out of pocket losses, attorneys fees, mental anguish and other damages. Reinstatement is sometimes an option to cure a disability discrimination claim, especially when demotion or termination occurs. Often the employer, employee, or both do not prefer this option. Because the disabled employee did not fill the position, another employee often holds that job. Judges usually do not like to displace an innocent third party to reinstate the aggrieved employee. If your employer negatively affected your job or refused to provide a reasonable accommodation to a disability then you should contact Dallas disability discrimination attorneys right away.
How Dallas disability discrimination lawyers can help
Maneuvering a disability discrimination lawsuit in Texas begins with understanding employment discrimination laws and the meaning of the key terms of the statute. Disability discrimination claims often require a pre-suit process to preserve claims before an employee may file a lawsuit. Failure to understand the processes and legal structure of a disability discrimination claim can doom the claim and the employee. A successful claim for disability discrimination can result in an award of damages including lost wages, mental anguish, out of pocket losses, attorney’s fees and court costs.